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    Natural gas and energy efficiency: How to save on your bill this winter?


    September 28, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras

     

      The energy crisis resulting from the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine makes it necessary to consume efficiently and opt for alternatives that promote energy savings, ensuring supply for the coming months while complying with the climate agenda. There are several ways to achieve this:

      Condensing boilers: the path to energy efficiency.

      Condensing boilers have established themselves as a key to improving household energy efficiency and meeting EU climate targets thanks to their ability to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

      Unlike traditional mechanisms, condensing boilers take advantage of much of the heat that is lost in the form of water vapor in combustion and generate extra performance, reducing gas consumption by 15-30%. In addition, this type of installation reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by almost 70%, helping to reduce the carbon footprint and meet the decarbonization target.

      The autonomous communities are encouraging the installation of condensing boilers through subsidies or information campaigns such as the Renove Plan with the aim of meeting decarbonization targets and improving the energy efficiency of homes. For example, the Renove Plan promoted by the Community of Madrid is committed to a massive renovation of traditional boilers with the aim of reducing natural gas consumption by 15-20%. In addition, the region has included this measure in its energy saving plan submitted to the Spanish Government for extrapolation to a large national energy saving plan. Along the same lines, the Government of Castilla y León has proposed a Boiler Renewal Plan promoted by the European Next Generation funds.

      This aid is aimed at replacing any type of boiler with a condensing gas boiler with a minimum energy efficiency of A+. Another advantage of these installations compared to traditional boilers is that they operate uninterruptedly and modulate their flame according to demand and pollution, so noise pollution is lower.

      Other saving tips

      In particular, there are small changes we can make to reduce consumption in our homes and make it more efficient. Thus, with a view to the coming winter, some changes in our routine can mean significant savings in natural gas consumption.

      • Good insulation is essential to keep the heat in. If there are rooms in the house where you hardly enter, adapting the temperature to each room can save between 5-8%. Do not forget to close the doors of the rooms you use the least and make sure there are no open windows.
      • Any element that covers a radiator increases energy consumption. If you have a piece of furniture or a long curtain covering a radiator, do without it, as you are forcing it to work harder to heat the same amount.
      • Carpets or rugs are more than just a decorative object, as they prevent heat from seeping through the floor. Good insulation will allow you to save between 20 and 40% of consumption and maintain a more comfortable temperature inside the house.
      • We consume more efficiently and contribute to energy savings if we maintain a stable temperature in our homes. Studies show that 20ºC is the optimum temperature for the whole house and overheating the house can increase our bill by 5-10% for each extra degree.
      • Home automation is another great ally in maintaining a house temperature that suits our needs. Thanks to smart thermostats, which we can now connect directly to smartphones, it is possible to adjust the temperature from the outside, adapting it to our schedules.

      What about transportation?

      CO2 emissions from the automotive industry make it one of the most polluting sectors. According to a report by the European Environment Agency, transport was responsible for nearly a quarter of CO2 emissions in the EU in 2019, of which 71.7% originates from road transport. The European Commission, in the framework of the "Target 55" measures, has proposed to revise the CO2 emission standards for passenger cars and vans by setting a target of reducing emissions in the EU by 100% by 2035, by which time it will no longer be possible to market passenger cars or vans with an internal combustion engine in the EU.

      The solution does not lie solely and exclusively in electric cars. There are other alternatives to traditional fuels such as cars using LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG). All of them allow a more efficient and environmentally friendly driving.

      The use of natural gas as a fuel has important environmental advantages, since it reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 85% and particulate matter by almost 100%. In addition, they are considered ECO and have no climate restrictions on circulation, measures already in force in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, which will affect other urban centers in the future. In this scenario, vehicles powered by compressed natural gas offer a viable and safe alternative because they are categorized with the green label + of the code established by the National Plan for the Improvement of Air Quality (the most favorable category).

      Renewable gases, the alternative to fossil fuels

      The European Union has set a target of 'zero emissions' by 2050 and the European Parliament and the Council on the Renewables Directive has set a minimum target of 32% of the global energy mix to be made up of renewable energies by 2030. In this situation, while electrification is an essential way to decarbonize and reduce the carbon footprint, it is not the only way to reduce CO2 emissions and meet the 2030 climate agenda. Opting for alternative energies to fossil fuels such as decarbonized fuels and renewable energies is a necessary and fundamental step in the energy transition.

      To decarbonize the economy, in addition to solar and wind energy, there are other renewable energy sources that will play a key role in the coming years.

      Renewable gas is an inexhaustible energy with zero CO2 emissions that is totally interchangeable with natural gas, so it can be distributed through the more than 100,000 kilometers of gas networks in Spain. Moreover, it can play a very important role in the decarbonization of the transport sector, since, in addition to being produced locally and bringing us closer to a scenario of energy independence, it offers a solution to the problem of managing urban, livestock, agricultural and agri-food industry waste. The development of renewable gases boosts activity in the rural world, creating economic activity and new jobs in rural areas, and makes it possible to complete the circular economy cycle.

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